if i could paint i–

you may think
that the extension’s endless,
you can
pull—– pull—–

longer— strong_er,

bit of pain—
but then—

the heart– suddenly
snaPs back like rubber strap,
to where the roots lie–
driLLs big holes inside your chest&
striPS you NA_
ked, if

you’re Joan Miró, you etch
reD and Black, blaCK // Red in
small-scale, & your hands smell
of blood and charcoaled earth of civil war,
touch DEStrucTION&
no matter
where you are, you’re–

stretch//– sCRAtch//– NooO!!! you’re

neVer sAFe,

Picasso-like, in painting Guernica,

bombs in your eyes, fall
when you hear about the kids that die
in a school on Placa San Felipe Neri– &
the only thing that you can do is, take the
crumbled stones and build anew, i
was a teen, working

in city hall, social welfare branch,
when a group of refugees came into our
town, and they were sitting in the office,
smiling, smiling, a bit lost when my boss
explained assistance to them,

only now,
i think,
i see what spans like rubber band,
from their bare, white teeth,
into the choking chambers of
a badly savaged land


Karin is the woman behind the dVerse bar today and she has prepared a prompt for us that takes us to the heart of exile and beyond.. Miró and Picasso were in France when the civil war savaged their beloved Spain and they both captured some of the terror in their paintings.. the school on Placa San Felipe Neri was hit when Hitler bombed Barcelona and they rebuilt it with the crumbled stones that were left…learned about all this on my visit to Barcelona last week..so really thankful for a journey that taught and touched me on different levels…


48 responses to “if i could paint i–

  1. def some emotional points here…the kids dying for sure…i would rather prevent that any way i can….and the rates of the welfare…i know this is a sticky topic…there are those that are against it, but what do we do for those taht dont have enough? turn a blind eye? unacceptable….my heart strings get pllucked often….

  2. bombs in your eyes, fall
    when you hear about the kids that die…all powerful here…love the title to because i always wished that I could paint….great capture, Claudia.

  3. The heart can bear a lot, but sometimes it does reach the point where it can bear no more and there is a SnAp and you have to find a way to deal with that SnAp. It seems Picasso and Miro found a way through painting. Ann Frank through writing. (I know there were other painters and writers…..) And I think about all of us, and especially myself, and wonder how I do / would deal with the SnAp. (I do think it is poetry……or walking.) One has to do something, lest one become exiled from self..and world…and something that matters to someone. (Picasso, Miro, Frank, etc.)

  4. Yes, something has to give. It’s the same as seeing all the kids dying in Syria right now. It’s disgraceful and something should be done about it but, there is no easy answer meantime, the death continues as if human life means nothing anymore.
    This is deep and also disturbing for its truth too. Thank goodness there are ways of coping and sometimes it is through art, words or simply walking off our anger and frustrations.
    Great writing Claudia.

  5. Yep there has to be a change at some point I suppose, but seems like it will always get worse before, if it ever does, get better.

  6. Very sensitive and heart wrenching write Claudia. I read the novel “Guernica” and it broke my heart. Artists paint the devastation, but I bet the reality is even worse.

  7. really like the adjusting of caps and end-breaks here, really adds a little flare, some really nice lines and some great artistic references as well. Great read. Thanks

  8. Claudia, your poem is much more sensitive and deals with the subject more profoundly than my prompt I fear. There is one more minute, but too late I think to fix! Ah well, people will draw inspiration from you; wonderful poem. The close especially. k.

  9. Sometimes stony silence in the face of this is because we have lost some of our notions of the beautifully possible. Life’ll do that in time(if you let it).

  10. I like the stretching snaping rubber bands, twisted holes in cheeks ~ being exiled from one’s native land is heart breaking, seeing it ravaged into the ground, even more so ~

  11. This is great Claudia, I can really ‘feel’ this one. (Guernica is one of my favourite Picasso paintings, it speaks of the futility of war). I particularly like ‘your hands smell of blood and charcoaled earth of civil war.’ You paint a disturbing image throughout here.

  12. Powerful, Claudia. I especially like:

    bombs in your eyes, fall
    when you hear about the kids that die
    in a school on Placa San Felipe Neri– &
    the only thing that you can do is, take the
    crumbled stones and build anew

  13. Miro is an amazing painter, and it’s cool how you associate the political turmoil of the civil was into his surrealist canvases. I always find it amazing how the suffering that consumed an entire country somehow goes underground after the years. I felt this in Finland: where did all of that war terror go ? It goes underground into the recesses of Private lives. Painting perhaps inscribes this history of pain that becomes just history. Your poem brings this out, though I am unsure how close it is to your intent. Great writing.

  14. Wow, I love how your poem speaks of history and your own experience as a tourist and in the social welfare. That adds layers to your poem… just like a very complex painting 😉 I love art as well, and hearing about the circumstances of the artists is always exciting to me. Thank you. I enjoyed the beginning too, with its elasticity… Pulling, that’s what it is…

  15. I watched a documentary on Picasso recently…and it featured Guernica and the terrible bombing raid on that small village. It was so tragic and the misery caused. You really have picked up the strength of emotion in the opening of this poem and it carried all the way through… I could imagine that’s how it felt for Picasso… a strong emotional write Claudia!

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  17. This just ignites the blank page much like Picasso, it is art, impassioned, it is a spirit, impassioned…it’s fantastic…there is social commentary, history, poetry…everything a lonely and hungry mind could ask for 😉

  18. As always you come back richer from your travels no matter how much time and cash may have been spent on them–this is full of a sense of that smile stretched too far, heart snapping, that comes when home is lost and life is at themercy of strangers…among other things. Complex, and beautifully written, Claudia.

  19. You always paint such powerful pictures with your words Claudia, and your travels and understandings always breathe life and emotion into your poetry making for a moving read. Wonderful but sad x

  20. … see that everybodies eyes over and over: Will you still love me tomoworrw … that what keeps me going … thanks, C … Always, cat.

  21. Like others the “bombs in your eyes, fall when you hear about the kids that die..” line was very striking to me…another powerful verse.

  22. I had exactly the same reaction as gnun, but then your last stanza capped all that had gone before. Gold-plated inspiration – must have been!

  23. Thanks for the summary at the end, without that, I was a little lost. Reading that and then re reading the poem and it makes some sense. I think the bombings and children dying strikes a chord within most of us as we strive to protect those we love.

  24. excellent write claudia, you really have you finger on the pulse of barcelona in these poems… must have been a awesome trip, that you for sharing these with us

  25. Brilliant! Your job and a war and a civil war and 2 painters flying in together and out again as if a rubber band zinging into this reader’s heart!

    For just one second I flashed on the heart strings bursting in a fairytale–but that was fairytale happiness and I watched it dash itself into dust as I looked back into these words and paintings.

  26. Claudia – love your words, the heart and the hurt. The learning from experience, and learning from what moves sister and brother poets. Amazing!

  27. Picasso’s Guernica hung in my nursery (which may explain a few things). This has your expansive empathy, sharp grasp on the motivations and expressions of art, and that mixture of micro and macrocosm that I always find so appealing!

  28. incredible history and imagery, picasso miro the children

    plus now i have something to connect to my first name, felipe

    thank you claudia

  29. i love the way you build up the tension in the beginning… and then bring it all home with those last few lines. very powerful.